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Ironman 70.3 Steelhead - Triathlon


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Benton Harbor, Michigan
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
75F / 24C
Overcast
Total Time = 5h 35m 37s
Overall Rank = 676/2436
Age Group = 44-49
Age Group Rank = 101/283
Pre-race routine:

(FIRST TIME STEELHEAD PARTICIPANT) Arrived Saturday morning for packet pickup. Thought I was early, but realized I was in Eastern time zone; not a big deal as it was only around 10:00am EST. Parking lot was packed which I did not expect, but still had good guidance as to where to place my car. I made the decision that I would check my bike in race morning so I simply picked up my backback and headed to IM village. It was a nice 1/2 mile walk and I did notice that some people who were checking in their bikes simply rode them to the village (wear those helmets folks!). Check in was VERY easy as I expected a line of some sorts. Got my bib number, signed my waiver forms, picked up my packet/shirt/Steelhead backpack (meh), and got my timing chip confirmed in less than 10 minutes. Awesome. Shopping time! Since this was my first Steelhead race I did get the t shirt with all the participant names, coffee mug, stickers, and IM branded ringer tee that I liked. Line for the paying for the goods was actually longer than registration; go figure. Since I had time to kill I did walk the village a bit just to people watch and see if anything looked interesting. I walked the beach some to check out the water conditions; it seemed OK. I did not attend the athlete race briefing though it would have been nice just to hang around a bit more. Time to go back to the car.....

Found a "shortcut" back to the car as I followed other people who were walking. My plan for the day was to 1) Drive the course 2) Grab something to eat 3) Check in at hotel and 4) Get some rest!

Drove the course and it definitely helped my preparation for the race. I tried to remember all the rough spots (CR-376 was AWFUL) and where the longer hills were located. There were people riding the course on route 63 both going north and south. I was familiar with the run course just through observation on Google Maps.

Race Morning:
As usual, my sleep was hard to come by, but I did manage to squeak out abut 4 hours or so. Got up around 3:00 since I wanted to get some breakfast (Dunking Donuts coffee, banana, bagel breakfast sandwich and apple juice) and get to the parking lot nice and early to relax. Plan worked out well. No traffic (duh), Dunkin was empty, and was one of the first few in the parking lot. Ate in my car while listening to music and mentally picturing how the race would go.

Transition opens at 4:30 and I arrived there shortly after. I still had to check my bike in and get body marked. No problem....nice and fast. I set up my transition area and was ready to get this show started. Because of how the transition was setup all the bikes on my rack were facing one way which was awesome since it gave us more room. This was due to the sand dune right next to the rack; hey, works for me. Also, there were porta potties/garbage cans right next to the rack; I thought this was convenient. Since I had so much time to kill I snapped a few pics of all the racks in the darkness (sorta cool) and walked the beach some. Sat down on a bench and relaxed. About an hour before transition closed I walked back and talked to some people around me. Announcer stated the water temp was 72 degrees.......great. Put on my my wetsuit which I pre-applied Tri-Glide inside the arms and legs. A nice short walk to the beach/start.
Event warmup:

I really don't "warm-up" per se, but I did wade around in the water to at least see how cold it was (which it wasn't) and adjusted my goggles. I talked to some people around me as the swim course was new. For the most part I wasn't really nervous as I have done several tris before as well as some IM-branded events.

My swim wave was 7:36AM. The time the race started was 7:00. No mass starts here.
Swim
  • 46m 48s
  • 2112 yards
  • 02m 13s / 100 yards
Comments:

The first 200m of this race I was in trouble. Yeah....good way to start huh? I had an equipment malfunction where both goggle lenses filled up with some water. I wear contacts that are somewhat loose on my eyes so I was a bit worried. About 200 yards in it became tough to sight the buoys so I tried sighting off people. Unfortunately for me the people I was sighting off of did not really have a good route. Argh. I did some breast stroke and tried to clear the water out and push my goggles back on tightly. A little better, but not much. At this point I was just trying to get buoy to buoy the best that I could. About 600 meters in I could not see much of ANYTHING when I was sighting. I could not find a buoy and all I saw was splashing water. I figured perhaps I lost a contact so I tried to stay as calm as I could and do more breastroke so I could find my way. (For those of you who are familiar with contact prescriptions I'm a -7.5 which is pretty bad) I tried to sight off people too to help out. I did make it to the beach.....thankfully. My heart rate was a bit higher than wanted, but it could have been a LOT worse. I can't imagine if I lost both contacts as I might have DNF'd. As I was running to transition I closed one eye and kept the other open to determine what was going on. Apparently there were issues with my right contact. I had a spare pair in transition, but was worried about putting another one in and having the existing one in the corner of my eye or something. Sooooo........on to the bike.
What would you do differently?:

Well, I guess I shouldn't have messed around with my goggles before the start. Maybe I need a new pair? Bad luck? The takeaway is that I did not panic and focused on moving forward.
Transition 1
  • 00m
Comments:

Suit got stuck on heels a little bit, but not bad. Really the focus was staying calm, getting my bike gear on, and drinking something really quick before leaving transition. I did NOT put a new contact in as I was worried about losing that one if I had two in my eye.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing much. Just work on getting the wetsuit off a tad faster.
Bike
  • 2h 40m 28s
  • 56 miles
  • 20.94 mile/hr
Comments:

Ok......so when I started the bike I was still messing with my right eye trying to push from the corners to see if the contact got lodged there from the swim. Nope. It's truly gone. This made things easier for me since I knew I would simply take the additional 30sec to 1m to get my contact in my eye during the run transition. I did my bike basically half blind :)

This was my fastest 70.3 bike split ever so I was happy about it. My off-season training has paid off this summer on the races that I have done. I felt like I was passing by a lot of people, but also getting passed too....there are some fast folks out there! One thing to note was that there were a lot of times when the road felt congested so passing could be tricky.

I took in chomps and a drink about every 20 minutes so roughly 250 calories or so per hour. It wasn't terribly hot so I wasn't worried about being overheated. It did drizzle, but not rain. Coming back South on 63 we did face a bit of a headwind, but it wasn't terrible. I was feeling pretty good and just wanted to be sure I didn't cook my legs for the run. Stayed in aero for most, if not all, of the course.
What would you do differently?:

This was a good segment for me. I would hope to continue to do what I did in this part of the race.
Transition 2
  • 00m
Comments:

Found my rack easily and took the time to put my contacts in.....20/20 vision is back! Put my race belt on, put my socks and shoes on (I like socks on longer races) and headed out of transition. Outside of the additional time it took to place my contacts in I thought this transition went well.
What would you do differently?:

Everything went well.
Run
  • 2h 01m 11s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 09m 15s  min/mile
Comments:

I felt good going into the bike with a set goal of around 9:00 splits. I figured I could go by feel later in the race if I wanted to pick up speed. I did start out way too fast as my first couple of miles were sub9. I even tried to slow down! Some of the hills forced me to adjust my pacing accordingly. There were always people around me and I didn't feel like I was running alone. Running on the trails was nice since it felt different and there was shade (not that it was needed). I didn't walk any of the course so I was happy about that. In my previous 70.3s I had a tendency to walk the aid stations in the latter half of the run.

Great crowd support. Great aid stations with wonderful volunteers. I didn't have any nutrition on me and lived off the course; that worked well. I brought salt tablets with me and took them at the 3 and 6 mile markers. Unfortunately, the rest of my pills turned into a powdery mess as I was dousing myself with water at the aid stations. Need a small waterproof pill holder!
What would you do differently?:

I would have liked to have slightly better splits, but overall I felt good. This was the first time on this course so now I'm prepped for the next time.
Post race
Warm down:

My warmdown was a good stretch and a visit to the med tent to get ice wrapped around my quads. Sure I looke like Frankenstein walking around, but it did feel good and makes my recovery time a bit shorter. Drank some water, ate some Pizza Hut slices (that was interesting) and talked to people about their race and how it went.

Overall, I definitely would do this race again and feel adequately prepared.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Really it was just the goggle issue at the beginning of the race. I probably could have shaved off at least 4-5 minutes based on training times for the swim distance.

Event comments:

Excellent race at a nice venue. Well organized. Great volunteers. Plenty of aid stations. Good crowd support. I liked that I could bring my bike on race day and not check in the day before.




Last updated: 2015-03-10 12:00 AM
Swimming
00:46:48 | 2112 yards | 02m 13s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/283
Overall: 0/2436
Performance: Below average
Suit: Blue Seventy Reaction
Course: Point to point. Swim out, across, then back to the beach. 8 Yellow buoys then changed to red buoys once you got halfway (8 red ones too). Two large red buoys for the turns. Small swells that were really only felt after the first turn.
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 72F / 22C Current: Low
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Average Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Good
T1
Time: 00:00
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
No
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
Biking
02:40:28 | 56 miles | 20.94 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/283
Overall: 0/2436
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: Point to point course. Some really rough areas (as confirmed with some of my peers after the race). Not too many steep hills (if any?). Rolling course which allowed you to pick up speed for the uphills. Roads were NOT closed off so you had to be careful when passing people on the left.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence: 95
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
T2
Time: 00:00
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
Running
02:01:11 | 13.1 miles | 09m 15s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/283
Overall: 0/2436
Performance: Good
Course: Mostly flat with a couple of tougher hills one of which is about a mile into the race. Ran through the trails that surround the Whirlpool complex a couple times. Street conditions were optimal. No rain. Little wind.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Evaluation
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

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